A Titanic seaman and hero during the ill-fated night of April 14, 1912, will finally receive a well-deserved headstone. Robert Hopkins, who died in 1943, was an unsung hero who helped save the group of people traveling in his lifeboat. Since his death, his grave had rested with no headstone since his story was unknown except by those who researched Titanic stories and found his story.
Many enthusiasts are expected to join the Hopkins’ family for the unveiling of the deserving stone. A well-deserved tribute to an able and brave seaman.
When the Titanic hit the iceberg, Hopkins was asleep in his bunker. He was then assigned to help board and unload lifeboats capable of holding 1,178 people. The passengers on the Titanic totaled 2,225, out of which 1,512 died that night. Hopkins was then ordered by First Officer William Murdoch to board lifeboat 13, which had many third-class passengers in it.
Hopkins’ lifeboat was lowered right below lifeboat 15 which seemed to come down and fall above Hopkin. Titanic International Society co-founder and president Charles Hass said, "Hopkins, from what we've seen, called up and told them to stop lowering. He and another crew member went to work with a pen knife to cut the ropes. If Hopkins had not done what he did, 13 and potentially 15, would have been lost."
According to the Titanic International Society, Hopkins went on to work as a longshoreman in Hoboken, across the Hudson River. The society holds a yearly convention in Newark. This year, they made arrangements to visit the tombs of four survivors in Holy Name Cemetery, where two of them were passengers in boat 13. This is where they noticed Hopkins’ grave unmarked.
Andrew P. Schafer, the executive director of Catholic Cemeteries said, “When I realized one was unmarked, I immediately offered to provide a headstone at no cost, with permission from Newark Archbishop John Myers.”
The ceremony will be joined by four of Hopkins’ grandchildren who were contacted by the association. Virginia Hopkins said that her grandfather did not talk much about the tragic event. They consider this tribute a great honor.